CNBC's Tyler Mathisen looks back at the week's top business and financial stories. The bull market continues, in spite of bad winter weather and the situation in Ukraine. Auto sales were mixed, while Radio Shack & Staples announced they would be closing a number of stores. And the SAT made changes this week, going back to a total 1600 score and making the essay portion optional.» Read More
Big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco saw sales that exceeded expectations, but most niche retailers saw their sales drop or saw sales grow less than expected.
Consumer spending didn't slow down that much but apparently consumer bill paying has. Look at Capital One. The company is taking a $1.9 billion provision for loan losses in the fourth quarter and cut its full year profit forecast by more than 20 percent, blaming rising consumer loan losses and higher legal reserves.
Disappointing. Challenging. Uncertain. Short of expectations. Those are the words most heard from companies in this morning's December same store sales report. Large companies like Macy's, Gap, Abercrombie, and Ann Taylor reported sales below expectations.
The Bank of England left interest rates on hold at 5.5 percent Thursday, despite clear signs of weakness in the retail and housing sectors.
J. Sainsbury, Britain's third-largest supermarket group, said its sales rose and gave a relatively upbeat view of consumer spending, bucking the trend of retailers' gloomy predictions.
The Bank of England is likely to hold interest rates steady at 5.5 percent when it meets Thursday, analysts told CNBC.com, but it looks set to resume its monetary-easing strategy in February.
Retailer Metro said Thursday fourth-quarter sales rose 8.3 percent from a year ago, pushed higher by consumers making more purchases in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.
European equities dropped on Wednesday, ending at their lowest close in 1-1/2 month as worries over the prospect of a U.S. recession rattled investors, while retail shares sank after Mark and Spencer's profit warning.
You know that bad news is coming when even the industry groups (like Shoppertrak and ICSC) report that traffic/sales results are falling below their expectations. Today, Shoppertrak really tried to push a merry headline on its report that showed that holiday foot traffic slipped 2.7 percent versus 2006 and fell more dramatically than forecast (down 4.7 percent in December.)
Marks & Spencer, Britain's largest clothing retailer, reported its worst quarterly performance in two years on Wednesday, adding to signs of a slowdown in British consumer spending.
Australia's retail sales rose by more than expected in November as strong growth in jobs and incomes offset increases in interest rates and petrol prices, suggesting rates may yet have to rise again to cool demand. Wednesday's government data showed retail sales climbed 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted in November to A$20.07 billion ($17.6 billion). That handily beat forecasts of a 0.5 percent gain while sales increased by 8.1 percent on the year, the equal highest increase since June 2004.
Some electronics retailers had huge success in 2007, but the year left others bruised. A CES retail panel featured executives from both kinds of companies.
New CEO Howard Schultz called Cramer to personally promise a turnaround. Cramer believes he can deliver.Investing can be confusing. Luckily, Cramer has mapped out some road rules for all you Home Gamers trying to navigate the jungle that is Wall Street. Think of it as "Mad Money 101" –- some fundamental advice to keep in mind as you play the market. Whether you're a first time investor or a seasoned financier, it's always good to remember the basics.
He's back 'for the long term.' The man who commercialized the gourmet cafe brand and convinced the world to pay $5+ for a cup of specialty coffee is returning to the CEO seat. Howard Schultz is once again the CEO at Starbucks and says that he plans to recaffeinate sales and perk up the coffee giants' sagging stock price.
British retail sales grew at their slowest pace since March 2006 in December, making it the worst Christmas for retailers in three years, a survey showed on Tuesday.
Will Thursday's same-store sales figures lift already bruised retailers?
U.S. home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond posted a lower quarterly profit and warned that its fourth-quarter results would be lower than expected, sending its shares down almost 10 percent.
European equities bounced from the day's lows to end with small losses on Thursday, as gains in U.S. markets and rising oil shares offset the impact of weakness in banks -- last year's worst performers.
U.S. drugstores reported unusually weak December sales Thursday, weighed down by a slow flu season, lower-priced generic drugs and sluggish sales of seasonal items.
Pan-European electrical goods retailer DSG International said on Thursday its annual profit would miss analysts' expectations by as much as 50 million pounds ($99 million) after poor Christmas trading.